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This Wi-Fi-enabled smart mailbox will only worsen your Amazon addiction

Mailboxes are in desperate need of a 21st-century update, and thanks to a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign, they might finally get one.

It’s no secret that ever since the advent of the Internet and email, traditional hand-written letters have disappeared almost entirely. This doesn’t, however, mean that physical mail is dying off. It’s quite the opposite, in fact. The rise of the Internet has also caused a widespread shift in the way we purchase goods, and today more and more people are ordering things online and having them shipped to their homes instead of traveling to brick-and-mortar retailers to purchase them. 

These changes have led to a handful of different dilemmas. The first is that, because most of us do our billing/mailing via electronic means, many of us don’t think to check our physical mailboxes unless we know something is coming. Second, our current mailboxes – those rusty roadside vestiges of a dying era – are often too small for the things we commonly order online these days, so large packages are often left on our doorsteps, completely unsecured and unmonitored.

Meet Mr. Postman, a modern reimagining of the traditional mailbox that comes with a myriad of useful features. For starters, its bigger. Sporting a 9.8-inch girth, the enclosure is a full 3.5 inches wider than a standard box, which makes it better for packages.

Mr Postman screenshots

Second, it’s self-aware. Not self-aware in the sense that it’s sentient or conscious of its existence or anything – that’d be creepy. Instead, it’s outfitted with an array of different sensors that make it aware of its physical status. It’s got one that detects when the door is opened and closed, one that detects if the flag is up or down, and an interior scanner that can detect the presence of boxes and envelopes. And then there’s the Wi-Fi transceiver. Using this little radio, it can hook into your home wireless network and shoot you notifications whenever you’ve got new mail. In a lot of ways, this device makes snail mail function more like email.

As an added bonus, Mr. Postman is also more secure than a traditional mailbox. It’s equipped with an internal lock that you can control remotely via your smartphone, no matter where you are. Using the companion app, you can set your box to lock itself after an important package arrives, and even send virtual keys to housemates if you need someone to pick it up for you.

The project launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, and (assuming it reaches its $50,000 goal) expects to complete production and ship to backers in August of 2014. If you back it now, you can lock one down for a pledge of just $200 bucks. Find out more here.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock/albund

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